International Drop-In Center Programs
PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives for SEniors) is dedicated towards reaching 55-year old and above war veterans, their widows and senior citizens and to assist them in combating mild depression. Key objective of the yearly program funded by the City of Seattle is to enlist, monitor, counsel, and/or refer enrollees based on tried and tested guidelines established by the University of Washington in collaboration with agencies selected by the City of Seattle's Agind and Disability Services (ADS).
IDIC's Nutrition Program provides healthy recipes for lunch twice a week (Wednesday and Friday) in close cooperation with the Pacific Asian Empowerment Program (PAEP). Meals are carefully supervised with the help of a nutritionist from the City of Seattle. Lunch served from 11:00 AM till 1:30 PM provide an ideal venue for socializing and for welcoming and listening to forums conducted by various entities and programs addressing elderly needs.
Social, cultural, educational peer group activities centered on fitness sessions, choral singing, folk dancing, parlor games such as checkers, chess, bingo designed to keep older adults mentally and intellectually alert are conducted by a full-time Activities Coordinator. These are scheduled monthly and implemented on a daily basis.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
One of the most successful innovations of IDIC, aside from the novelty of seniors performing folk dance and choral singing for major community events, is the advocacy and actual assistance the agency has done for and in behalf of Filipino World War II veterans. It was IDIC that discovered and eventually brought to the attention of the State Governor and to the U.S. Congress in Washington DC the sad plight of aging soldiers who have petitioned for their families (their most important safety net) but have been neglected for the past 15-17 years. As an advocacy and service organization, the IDIC has successfully helped 40 WW II veterans to finally receive their benefits and pensions. The IDIC has been cited and honored several times by independent organizations for work benefitting marginalized veterans and their widows. Also through extensive outreach, education and information campaigns, IDIC is able to assist and direct elderly towards acquiring practical advice in terms of estate planning, benefits application, memorials pre-planning, housing, medical benefits and insurance during this period of economic downturn.
We badly need to provide a consistent and regular transport of elderly folks from their homes to the IDIC and back especially during the cold season. We also need more funding so that we can add more staff because the IDIC's services are needed more and more by increasing numbers each year. Increased funding will also allow us to lease more space for regular activities. For 2009 alone, drop-ins and numbers assisted has increased by 25%.